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  1. #1
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    Advice on the first hurdle of any journey...

    The home and family.

    And their reaction towards my unconventional moveout/journey.

    Im 19, still live at home. That will all change however. For years, i have wanted to live on the road, and see new things. New places, people, and experiences. I also feel that doing so will help me find my true calling in life.

    I have some money ive saved to the side, and a backup plan the join the navy, in case my journey is fruitless.

    I'd like to bicycle my way to the Ocala Gathering. Then after that, I will meander my way up the east coast, taking whatever educational opportunities that may come my way. Communes and ecovillages are also in my plans as I travel. As time passes, I plan to make my way to the National Gathering too.

    While on the road, I will work seasonal odd jobs and play music (learning the flute, and maybe the melodica) for money when needed. Sleep on the otherhand will be even more unorthodox. To simply put it, I will sleep wherever I will not be seen or were I am not in danger. (i.e. wooded areas, nooks and crannies in safe places). If I have the extra cash ill fancy a hostel.

    My vagabond plans are not unheard of in my family. Back when I was 18, i planned on hitchhiking. That plan was scrapped. Instead, i followed my parent's suggestions/orders to go to community college and work with my father.

    While I did feel it was a waste of time, I still cherish some of the skills i learned. But now its time to live my life according to my will.

    How can I announce this to my parents efficiently?

    My mother is my concern. She is the human incarnation of stress and worry. I do feel it will be the one disease that will kill her. My plans will, however, bring more stress and worry. Yet, if I forsake my plans, again, I will, for lack of a more quaint way to put it, feel like ****.

    Dilemmas dilemmas.

    What can you suggest?


    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    This has been discussed a few times before. There are basically two schools of thought:

    (1) Tell your parents that you're an adult now, and that they have to let you go sometime, and to just get over it.

    (2) Ask your parents what their fears are, write them down, and discuss what you can do to mitigate each of their fears. Perhaps it means carrying a "Find Me Spot" (google it) or calling in frequently or shortening the trip or finding safer places to sleep or ... Perhaps your parents are willing to put their money where their worries are and invest in making your trip safer (e.g., by providing money for more hostel or motel stays or ponying up for the Spot or funding your cell phone bill).

    There are many example of young bicycle tourists. Many of them have journals on the web. Find some of them and show them to your parents so they can see how many young people do this successfully.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    "To Thine own self be True...." and "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."

    Mix the above with a bit of common sense and maybe an answer you can both live with will become apparent. Maybe not.

    If you were mine, I'd strongly encourage you to join the Navy first and give the vagabond lifestyle a try afterwards. Still be plenty of time for you to "find your true calling." Who knows, might turn out to be the Navy.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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    Don't join the navy. The US has enough hired guns.

    A lot of times it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Don't join the navy. At any point that you decide traveling on a bicycle is not for you, you can throw your bike off a cliff and then go kill people afterwards. The same can not be said about joining the navy. I dont think they are too keen of defectors.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Do join the navy. Do your best to avoid being drawn into a stupid armed conflict, but (to me) you are crying out for some direction and grounding. At a minimum, you should be able to learn some important life while skills being in the military that will serve you well when you embark on your vagabond lifestyle. I think you have the order reversed.

    You are on the cusp of becoming an adult and you have a lot of life in front of you. I would urge you to get whatever education you can now as it will serve you well and open many doors. Being a vagabond may sound exotic and romantic when you are 19, but when you are 60, it's going to be less so.

    Just sayin'.

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys.

    Kudos out to you, Nelson and Cyclebum. Your advice is more than sufficient.

    Zeppinger: Wha-what? There is no shred of doubt within my heart that would make me question my love for the bicycle. Haha.

    Bobframe: Out of curiosity, how does my post sound like a cry for help? Your advice is valid, however, the philosophy I am following clashes with it. I am aware of the advantage in getting an education while I am young. I even followed that path initially. But the crushing lack of fulfillment and meaning in my early toils spurred me to think differently. As I see it, I should take the opporotunity to radically expand my horizons, and jump into life on a first hand basis.

    I can always go back to school and dedicate my energy towards the domestic lifestyle anytime I want. However, that is not what I want to experience now. I would rather exlpore. I hope to find my true calling/a fulfilling job and spend my years working/living however. I wouldn't mind working in my 60s or 70s. As long as the job/way of life is fulfilling.


    We are only promised today. Anything can happen tomorow. Even our own death.

    So I am pretty established on my intent and will to follow with my plans.

    Im just asking for advice on communicating with my family about my unconventional plans.

  8. #8
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyrd View Post
    Im just asking for advice on communicating with my family about my unconventional plans.
    I appreciate that, but will ignore it anyway. Sorry, my bad.

    My advice is, don't expect to make money playing flute or melodica. I've been a street musician, and hung out with street musicians, quite a bit (I was one 1984-5) and I know the business pretty well. There are a few basic rules, such as know your audience, know your location, etc. But more to the point, to make money you have to sing. You will always make more money singing than with any instrument. For best results, combine singing with an instrument --accordion, guitar, ukelele, it doesn't matter much. If you want something portable, I recommend a harmonica; fairly easy to play, and can be marvelously evocative (though singing and playing at the same time is problematic).

    It also helps to try out the music thing before you have to rely on it. In 1984, when I left home on a tour around Austria, Switzerland, etc. as a street musician, I had already demonstrated to my parents that I could easily make $100 - $200 in a day, depending largely on how hard I worked at it. As a result, they didn't worry about me too much.

  9. #9
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    The Ocala Gathering vs. the Navy - that just makes my head spin.
    ...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyrd View Post

    While I did feel it was a waste of time, I still cherish some of the skills i learned. But now its time to live my life according to my will.

    How can I announce this to my parents efficiently?

    My mother is my concern. She is the human incarnation of stress and worry. I do feel it will be the one disease that will kill her. My plans will, however, bring more stress and worry. Yet, if I forsake my plans, again, I will, for lack of a more quaint way to put it, feel like ****.

    Dilemmas dilemmas.

    What can you suggest?


    Thanks.
    I hear sincere concern for your mothers wellbeing and see that you would feel especially burdened if your growing up was her death knell disease. I hope that is not the case, and I suspect that is an exaggeration like your judgement that working with your dad and going to community college was a waste of time. I won't get near judging the merits of Navy/bike bumming adventure but will pass on something my sister said to me in a time of rough decisions. "what you do now is preperation for where you will be, is what you are doing now getting you where you want to be?" Bumming around will get you good at bumming around amongst other important things.

    I did a bike trip out of highschool then enrolled in an electronics tech. school. I was thinking of the Coast Guard as a concession to my dads advice but like you the idea of living in a more structured and constrained environment than home held less attraction than experiencing the world totally on my own terms.

    Sounds like you're the one who has to cut the apron strings so do it. For your own peace of mind that your mother isn't dying do to grief come up with some means of communication. I don't think there's anything you can do prior to your going or on your trip that will change how she feels but do something. Send a letter, post card, e-mail whatever. Each one will establish the new reality for both of you.

    As far as practical suggestions I'd look at the old cycling bums and regular commuters who use flourescent vests. When I went touring I tried to look as inconspicuous and normal as possible but plaid shirts, t-shirts and jeans just don't stand out to cars going fast. When my daughter headed out on her big bike adventure she was dressed as down home casual as is the norm and I was getting panicky as a middled aged dad because NOW I know that the road is full of old folks with bad vision and some of them half drunk. I used to ride with a mirror on my sun glasses with a heightened sense of awareness about what was approaching from the rear but there's nothing like giving the cars plenty of visual cues as you're riding the straightest line you can next to a ravine or cliff.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    The Ocala Gathering vs. the Navy - that just makes my head spin.
    but isn't it nice there's no draft?

  12. #12
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    my personal advice as to whether to do it or not ; do it. you only have one lifetime to live. there are a lot of rewarding things you can do all throughout your life, but as far as going out to explore the world and find adventure, now is the time to do it while you are young, healthy and single.

    but i'd also like to address another point that you bring up, and that is your mom. it sounds like you do care for her and have a positive relationship. since you are here asking us for advice, it sounds as though, in spite of some ups & downs perhaps, you do have a caring family. this relationship is always worth fostering.

    in this respect, you might be able to ease the stress all the way around not only for your mom, but for the rest of your family and for yourself too if, instead of making some kind of dramatic announcement and getting people's feelings riled up, you were to ease into it little be little, so to speak. as far as cycling goes, start off with occasional weekend or 3 day rides. this would create a transitional period in which you can find out if this is really what you want to persue and also demonstrate to your folks that you can indeed take care of yourself responsibly. as your trips become more frequent and for longer periods, your family will have the time to adjust and accept.
    just remember that they are mainly concerned about your personal safety first, and for your future, and that these concerns are valid.

    i have had a lot of experience with the lifestyle you are now dreaming of. I moved out on my own when i was 16, rode my bicycle up to nova scotia at 17 and down into mexico at 18; hitched coast-to-coast about 9 times or so, hopped frieght trains in the northwest, etc. i was also lucky enough to happen upon volunteer work in southern mexico that provided room & board and was entirely interesting and satisfiying. there are a lot of avenues to adventure; just keep in mind that some are otherwise an entire waste of time and others are what make life worth living. my main "adventure" now is raising my own family and being the kind of dad that mine wasn't. i still fit mini adventures in from time to time, though.

    earning money while traveling is not an easy thing to do at all. the most likely scenario is that you will have to settle down somewhere for at least a period of months. something to consider is to take a course or two at a community college at the same time. your parents will feel relieved that you haven't entirely abandoned "common sense", and you can pick up a lot of useful things, very cheaply: metal working, languages, cooking skills, theater arts, jewelry making, ...you name it. some of them may even count toward a degree some years down the line.

    as far as joining the navy... if you are considering joining because of patriotic fervor, that is all well & good. but if you are considering it because of the educational benefits, i would suggest doing 2 years at a jr. college and then transfering to a state university for the last 2 years. it's not all that hard to work your way through college, come out with a dregree in something you are actually interested in, and not owe anyone a dime. the navy will train you for what they need and think you have an abilty to do, not necessarily what you want. if you are considering the navy for the v.a. benefits, you might want to talk to some vets first and see how happy they are with their benefits.

    sorry to have gone on for so long. you will of course find your path in life. i hope it all goes well with you
    Last edited by philso; 01-15-10 at 12:12 PM.

  13. #13
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    I suppose I could Google it, but just what, exactly, is a Gathering?

    Anyway...I don't mean to discourage you. If you are of legal age, you can go your own way. But I have to ask...

    Are you prepared to accept the responsibility for your choices?

    If you later discover that you have no income, no savings, no insurance, no marketable skills - are you prepared to accept that as an adult?

    Or will you, like so many, simply cry out:

    Im a victim. Help me!!!

    With choices - come consequences.

  14. #14
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    The U.S. Navy has just sailed for Haiti - to kill lots of people.

  15. #15
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    "But now its time to live my life according to my will." But the trouble is you dont seem to have any idea of what you want to do except drift around and see what turns up, with no real plans. If that is what you want to do make sure you have some real useful skills so you can earn yourself some money whenever you need it. While you learn those skills, save more money and make plans with your mother - with a mix of her worry and your carefree nature, you should be able to lead a great life.

  16. #16
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyrd View Post
    ...on communicating with my family about my unconventional plans.
    Your mom and her worries: you might be able to help her with this by explaining that it is the order of nature and humanity that a young man should have his independence at some point. The constitution recognizes this need, and sees it as a fundamental right as well as a need. State laws also recognize it. Assuming you are in a state where the age of majority is eighteen or nineteen, the law is entirely on your side. You have full personhood. Included in that is the right to live your own life, make your own decisions, move and travel as you choose. Anyone who interferes with those rights, or does not respect them, is doing your life a disservice. If I could have communicated that, and the need for my own choices to be respected [actually, that isn't exactly and literally a need, but more like a harmonization of their (parents' and others') understanding and your understanding, which helps to harmonize the relationship], things would have been much better on both sides.

    There are states (Ohio is one) where unwanted interference with another person's basic life decisions is itself a crime.

    Making your own decisions (whether alone or after considering others' input), and refining or understanding that process more thoroughly, are part of growing up and living. Being honest with yourself and what you are truly interested in (your understanding of what truly interests you may deepen and change over time) seems like a key element.

    I have heard from mothers (it often isn't easy for them to let go) who finally understood that 'their children' were now adults in the hands of Life, and no longer in their own hands. Trust in Life a part of ending the worry. Faith and trust are a cure for worry. (These sorts of insights are there in Christian Science literature if she is open to that. If not, the same sorts of insights exist among others, including other theists, as well as among atheists and agnostics.)

    She seems to care about you. If you can help her to understand your own need to be a man now, not a child -- and that having your adulthood recognized and honored by her would be a good step at this point -- it might help make this transition happen (in her understanding of the situation). It seems like a good step to take. She would want it for you also, if she cares about you, once she understands the issues involved.

    This sort of understanding can help to eliminate some of the trauma that occurs when a young man breaks away, and the parents are still lagging, or not in step with the transition. They feel it as unnatural because they don't understand the transition. They often haven't been through it yet either, and their understanding of it may be (and probably is) a bit imperfect at this point.

    ***
    If you stay open to them in your journey, all kinds of things will come your way, some of them very good. Once you commit to something false (something that isn't quite true for you, like a mediocre marriage), you close off possibilities that may be much more dynamic (like over-the-top relationships, whether with persons, or with some kinds of work, or with some approaches to life, or with the process of deepening your understanding and discovering truer ways of living, or with the universe, or Life and the process of living, or all of the above).
    Last edited by Niles H.; 01-15-10 at 01:49 PM.

  17. #17
    eternalvoyage
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    This might have some relevance:

    The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as it is conceptualized (and recognized or declared) in law. It is the chronological moment when a child legally ceases to be considered a minor and assumes control over their persons, actions and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over and for them. The word majority here refers to having greater years and being of full age; it is opposed to minority, the state of being a minor. The law in a given jurisdiction may never actually use the term "age of majority" and the term thereby refers to a collection of laws bestowing [or recognizing] the status of adulthood. The age of majority is a legally fixed age, concept or statutory principle, which may differ depending on the jurisdiction, and may not necessarily correspond to actual mental or physical maturity of an individual.

    In practical terms, there are certain specific actions which a person who attains the age of majority is permitted to take, which they could not do before. These may include entering into a binding contract, buying stocks, voting, buying and/or consuming alcoholic beverages, driving motor vehicles on public roads, and marrying without obtaining consent of others....

    Age of majority pertains solely to the acquisition of control over one's person, decisions and actions, and the correlative termination of the legal authority and responsibility of the parents (or guardian(s), in lieu of parents) over the child’s persons and affairs generally.


    ***
    The age of majority (in the US, as well as most of the world) is usually recognized as eighteen. The only states that are exceptions, last time I checked, were Nebraska (where it is nineteen), Alabama (nineteen), and Mississippi (twenty-one).
    Last edited by Niles H.; 01-15-10 at 01:52 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyrd View Post
    The home and family.

    And their reaction towards my unconventional moveout/journey.

    Im 19, still live at home. That will all change however. For years, i have wanted to live on the road, and see new things. New places, people, and experiences. I also feel that doing so will help me find my true calling in life.

    What can you suggest?


    Thanks.

    Sorry, I know you're just asking about allaying moms anxiety but it's inevitable you're going to get unsolicited advice given your starting off point. Here's more. "true calling" happens now with whatever resources you have now. It's not down the road or at the end of the rainbow. The sentiment of doing productive work that enriches your life is a good one and that requires making decisions. Hit the road and see what happens. There's no end of romantic, exciting and scary ass dangerous possibilities out there. The attraction of sybaritic social gatherings with not unheard of recreational drug use is probably no stranger to you but be careful in anonymous gatherings. It happens to young adults going to college , young sailors and even young adults heading out to "gatherings". There's nothing like being with like minded people to do things you wouldn't consider alone and discover the ER in another State or the local constabularies views on youthful indiscretions. For reasons that confound me now I was pretty careful right out of the house and for the next couple years then proceeded to do a lot of stupid things a couple years later expanding on the sybaritic life. That's where the CoastGuard or school instead of random jobs would have been better.

  19. #19
    Hamish200sx
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    When my daughter headed out on her big bike adventure she was dressed as down home casual as is the norm and I was getting panicky as a middled aged dad because NOW I know that the road is full of old folks with bad vision and some of them half drunk.
    Statistics show that there are far less drunk drivers per capita now than at any time in the past. I do worry about those old timers though.

  20. #20
    Hamish200sx
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky13 View Post
    The U.S. Navy has just sailed for Haiti - to kill lots of people.
    You are a fool and need to keep quiet.

  21. #21
    Hamish200sx
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    I spent 4 years in the Marine Corps and then got a degree from the University of Oregon and I am about to begin a similar trip in a couple of months. I won't be attending any drug or alcohol festivals, as I'm just not into that sort of thing. I will just be camping and visiting friends around the country for a while.

    I definitely understand where you are coming from. I am in the position that I haven't found something I am willing to dedicate my life to yet and so I am not going to sit here spinning my wheels taking more classes towards another unwanted degree or working a job that I don't enjoy.

    As far as what you are actually asking about, your parents, I think the first responder hit it on the head. It doesn't sound like you are going to be able to put her mind at ease, this is just something you are going to have to come to terms with. She is not going to be ok with your decision and if you are not ok with that then I don't think you can go anywhere.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish200sx View Post
    You are a fool and need to keep quiet.
    Before rushing to judgement, perhaps you should read the entire thread. Then, you can apologize.

  23. #23
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    Whenever I read one of these threads, I can't help but think of "Into The Wild", a disturbing story about a disturbed young man.

  24. #24
    Hamish200sx
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky13 View Post
    Before rushing to judgement, perhaps you should read the entire thread. Then, you can apologize.
    Gotcha. I didn't realize you were reacting sarcastically to that other post. My bad.

  25. #25
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    I fully support this trip. I know, going was never in question. I just wanted to say that it sounds like an awesome trip and I wish you well. I also agree with what some have said here regarding consoling your mother while your out and about. Email, phone calls, post cards - all will be much appreciated by her. Someone also mentioned doing a few "mini-trips" so that maybe you can ease into it. This sounds like a good idea and it sounds like you've got the time to do a few little baby steps before you make the big jump.

    Good luck, have fun, and be safe.
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